Take, for example, the story of ASDA’s photographer, Verna Higgins. Verna has been an integral part of documenting the story of ASDA’s SAR and cancer detection dog, John D, who won the 2013 Search and Rescue Hero Dog Award. She helps promote ASDA on Facebook by spreading awareness about using dogs for cancer research. That’s how she came to know Dingsma Missouri, or Rose Gabel for short.
Rose had been following several dog, community and organization pages when she found John D on the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards website. At the time, he was a nominee whose story caught her eye and heart right away.
During the Hero Dog Awards campaign, she and her friends would meet online for chatting, swapping stories, poems and jokes. After seeing Verna’s photograph’s on John D’s page, Rose invited Verna to join her group of friends for the evening online sessions.
The two quickly became friends, telling jokes, venting to one another, checking on one another when not feeling well, and sharing a close fellowship together. When Rose mentioned she would be traveling to Arkansas, she and Verna decided to meet face to face!
Rose drove an extra couple hundred miles last month to meet Verna, John D and ASDA president Donna Waugh for dinner. Though Rose had not met any of them before, she and Verna hugged like they had been long-time friends.
“Without John D, Rose and I would not have met at all. So thank you John D and Donna Waugh for contributing to Rose and I becoming friends and inspiring us to never give up hope,” said Verna.
Rose shared, “To think that the furry pup (John D) was responsible for me making relationships that will make a difference in the rest of my life amazes me. John D not only rescues people that are lost, have been in horrible tragedies, and have lost their way; he rescues those online, that he can’t smell or see.”